TORONTO – Maybe things will calm themselves down; now that the inauguration of the President-elect of the USA is only nine days away. Maybe.
In the meanwhile, “attachment” to Presidential candidate Trump and Biden is still playing itself out in violent, deadly encounters.
Will the system hold? The larger issue for Western Societies – European and North American countries in particular – is the psychology at the root of questioning, and even rejecting, the reliability of a “free and fair election”. This concept is a fundamental tenet of democratic, political, governance principles we accept as a substitute for “taking up arms” to defend what we think is ours and ours alone.
Maybe the “models” we have developed to make those democratic decisions – for whatever reason – are no longer worthy of our loyalty, as we slip inexorably towards unbridled individualism and anarchy. Maybe it is time we redefine what we understand those models to mean. Democracy, “rule by the people”, has never really meant simply that “majority rules”.
Certainly, this is not the case in Canada, nor has it been in the USA. Both countries rejected the concept of a pure “one man one vote” system for everything. For example, 130,000 inhabitants of Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island, have a constitutional guarantee of four MPs and an equal number of Senators. Vaughan-Woodbridge in Ontario with a similar population can have one MP and no Senators. Quebec, with 7.5 million inhabitants is guaranteed 24% of all the MPs in the House of Commons, while Ontario with twice the population (14.5 million and growing) will have to accept roughly 38%. “Representation by population” (the more people, the greater the voice) may work in some instances, but our political lives do not depend on strict adherence to that model.
In the USA, every State is represented in the Senate with two Senators, regardless of its geography, its economy and its population. Powerhouses like New York and California have no more clout than Alaska in the Senate. It would be fair to conclude that Alaskans or Hawaiians are not likely to cede that leverage, no matter how distant they are from the “center of power”.
In election 2016, Clinton beat Trump by 65,853,514 to 62,984,828 votes (a difference of 4.55%) and still lost because the Electoral College votes favored Trump. This time, the Electoral College votes, notwithstanding the Court challenges, sided with the Democrats by a large margin; on this occasion reflecting the outcome of the popular vote: Democrats received 81,283,098, while Trump’s Republicans managed 74,222,958. If you are doing some quick math, you must be impressed by the fact that Trump improved his voter turn out by a sizeable 17.8%, despite the daily pounding – richly deserved in the eyes of some/many – to which the mainstream media subjected him.
However, this observation overlooks the fact that the Democrats improved their numbers by 23.4%. Just further evidence of cheating and corruption in the system, Republicans say. Maybe.
The other fundamental element of democratic election is “the patience to sit and wait”. Maybe what we have seen in this last week is the replacement of patience in the American democratic system with anger.
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